by Brittany Raymer
Digital Writer & Editor
On Sunday, the Senate provided the IRS with $80 billion in funding as part of the $750 billion “Inflation Reduction Act.” Many are worried that this staggering windfall, including $45.6 billion set aside for “enforcement,” will result in Americans being pinched by the tax collector as inflation, high gas prices and economic instability continue.
Benjamin Franklin famously uttered: “Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this new world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
That seems more true now than ever before, as Congress recently added billions to the budget of the IRS, which could result in America’s most loathed department growing by a shocking 87,000 employees. These new employees will perhaps be incentivized to aggressively target more and more Americans for tax audits, potentially resulting in many losing out on more money to Uncle Sam while facing a recession and likely stagflation.
“If you think the federal government is out of control now, God help us when you get 87,000 new IRS agents who are looking under every rock and stone to get money out of your pocket,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said.
He also called the bill a “power grab in the name of climate change,” as the galvanized and freshly funded agency will be grabbing every dime so that the democrats can fund their green energy policies, to the detriment of the country.
GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted, “Do you make $75,000 or less? Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming for you—with 710,000 new audits for Americans who earn less than $75k.”
TIME magazine is defending the measure, by arguing that the increase in funding and employees is to help offset those who are retiring from the agency, which it claims is nearly half of its entire workforce.
It also places the blame on the Republican party, which the publication argues has been behind efforts to decrease the federal footprint of the Internal Revenue Service.
But still, is anyone happy to see more federal funding go to those determined to nickel and dime Americans during an economic downturn, especially for inefficient green energy products? The answer is no.
The growth of the IRS is especially concerning as trust in American federal institutions has never been lower.
There are concerns that the IRS could once again be used by the administration to target political opponents, like what happened under former President Barack Obama. During his tenure, the agency used its considerable power to audit or deny conservative nonprofits and various Tea Party groups of tax-exempt status.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions apologized to those impacted in 2017: “There is no excuse for this conduct. Hundreds of organizations were affected by these actions, and they deserve an apology from the IRS. We hope that today’s settlement makes clear that this abuse of power will not be tolerated.”
Does anyone believe that won’t happen now? No, especially given the recent and seemingly politically motivated raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. The search was done supposedly to determine if classified and top-secret documents were mishandled, which has been posited as a smokescreen for the Department of Justice to see if there’s any evidence that Trump conspired with rioters to incite violence on January 6, 2021.
According to certain political analysts, the results of the search, if it develops into anything substantial, would be used to prosecute the former president to keep him from running again in 2024.
Andrew McCarthy of the National Review explains the problem: “The Justice Department’s legitimacy, which hinges on the public’s acceptance of it as a non-partisan law-enforcer, would be at risk. If Garland is going to charge the former president, he has to be sure. He has to be able to convince the country that the public interest strongly favors prosecution.”
More IRS employees isn’t comforting to Americans but worrying. As every institution seems to become more and more partisan and antagonistic to the founding principles of this country, it seems evident that the 2022 election will be one of the most critical midterm election in generations.
That’s why the John Locke Foundation’s work to decrease the personal income tax rate in the latest state budget is so important for North Carolinians.